One Child by Torey Hayden

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“Sheila was a wild, violent six-year-old lost in a world of anger and torment”—until a brilliant and caring young teacher reached out—Meet Sheila, autistic, abused and mute—her story, One Child, is Torey Hayden’s first book about working with children with special needs.

Torey will follow with the true stories of seven more children. Her titles are Somebody Else’s Kids, Murphy’s Boy, Just Another Kid, Ghost Girl, The Tiger’s Child (Sheila’s continuing story), Beautiful Child and her latest—Twilight Children.

In an interview, Torey insists that she isn’t a gifted, exceptional teacher. She wants to give credit to thousands of teachers who give their lives to children. Torey just happens to be a teacher who can also write.

She has written three fiction stories (which her fans insist are also true): The Sunflower Forest, The Very Worst Thing and The Mechanical Cat (only available in Europe).

A Friend Like Henry

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A true and touching story, A Friend Like Henry is the story of an autistic boy and a dog that helps to unlock his world. Jamie and Nuala are the proud parents of Dale, who as he grows, develops symptoms of autism. The book tells of their struggles to find help for their son, to try to find ways to communicate with him and of their tireless efforts to teach their child to lead a normal, productive life. Seeing their son’s interest in a friends’ dog, they bring home Henry, a golden retriever, who becomes an instant companion and friend to Dale. Dale’s relationship with Henry eventually allows him to develop relationships, empathy and communication with people–the bond with his dog changes his life forever. The book presents an informative look at the effects of autism on a family and of the daily struggles involved in raising a child with this condition. A Friend Like Henry is a testament to the dedication of parental love and an an inspiring story about the powerful influence of the unconditional love of a dog.

The First Cracks in the Glass Ceiling

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It has been quite the revolutionary year in politics for women. Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin have both made great strides in affecting how U.S. citizens think of a woman in our presidential role. But we shouldn’t neglect those who came before them.

In 1884 Belva Lockwood, an educator, lawyer and advocate for women’s rights became the first woman formally nominated for the U.S. presidency. This was five years after she was the first woman admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme court.

You can read her fascinating story in Jill Norgren’s Belva Lockwood: the woman who would be president

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

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How can anyone resist a book with such a cute cover? I picked up Marisa de los Santos’ first book Love Walked In for the great cover and quickly discovered a delightful story. Belong to Me is a follow-up, although I really think it would make sense without having read the first book.
Cornelia Brown and her husband have moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia while hoping to start a family. She is shocked by how difficult it is to make friends in the tightly closed community of suburban life. She meets “queen bee” Piper Truitt, who wastes no time establishing the pecking order. Then she stumbles across Lake, a waitress that seems like a breath of fresh air. Cornelia struggles to find her place in the community while still remaining true to herself. Belong to Me is a story about how friendship and family can come from the most unlikely places.

Slave by Mende Nazer

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Her fate is a domestic prison in an alien world

In Slave, Mende Nazer has written a straightforward, harrowing memoir. Born into the Karko tribe in the Nuba mountains of northern Sudan, her story first concentrates on Nazer’s idyllic childhood. In 1994, Mende, age 12, was snatched by Arab raiders, raped and shipped to the nation’s capital, Khartoum, where she was installed as a maid for a wealthy suburban family.

She’d never seen a spoon, a mirror or a sink, much less a televison or a phone. The pampered housewife, affluent, petty and cruel, beat her frequently and dehumanized her in dozens of ways. After seven years, Nazer accompanied the family, as a “maid” to Great Britian. She was able to contact other Sudanese and eventually escaped to freedom. Her book is a profound meditation on the human ability to survive virtually any circumstances.

Slavery still exists today and needs to be stamped out

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

> Like vampires? I have series for you: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

The Twilight Saga, a vampire-themed series, is not only a huge success, but something more—People dress up like her characters, and write their own stories about the books and post them on the Internet. There are Twilight themed rock bands—The four books in the saga, Twilight (2005), New Moon (2006), Eclipse (2007) and Breaking Dawn, 2008 have, collectively, sold a reportedly 10 million copies. Her books have been praised for their exclusion of violence, drugs and sex. A fan club has been organized at Twilighters.org. A film is scheduled for release in December 2008.

Political Intrigue on CD

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While we are deep into the current political scene and after you have done your research and made your choices, why not enjoy a novel of political intrigue. I found the hours just evaporated along with the miles as I listened to the audio book Dead Watch by John Sandford on a recent road trip to Colorado. This is not his most current book, but the story couldn’t be more timely with it’s political scandals and time bombs. A former Virginia senator is missing and the current governor and political rival may have a hand in his disappearance. Or did he?

If political scandal is a little too close to home, why not try one of our other audio books. Some of our new titles are:

Fiction
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry, Sail by James Patterson and Howard Roughan, Plague Ship by Clive Cussler, Swan Peak by James Lee Burke, Faces of Fear by John Saul, Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs, Forbidden by Elizabeth Lowell, The Gypsy Morph by Terry Brooks.

Non-Fiction
The Places In Between by Rory Stewart, (an interesting addition to our One Book/ One Community reading list of Central Asia titles) and The post-American World by Fareed Zakaria.

Another option is to download an audio book to your computer through our website and burn it to cd’s or load it onto your IPod or mp3 player. Use the following link to get started.

We all lead busy lives but technology is helping us enjoy reading while on the go.

A Chick Lit Break

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I’ve been working so hard to not write about Chick Lit constantly. Now that I’ve been good for several weeks, I think it’s time to reward myself with a post about my favorite genre. I read a mention recently of one of my all time favorite Chick Lit reads, which inspired me to look back over the years at some of the great books I’ve read. Here’s my top three list:

1. In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner – The story of two very different sisters learning to deal with themselves and each other.

2. Thirty Nothing by Lisa Jewell – Dig and Nadine have been best friends since grade school. Dredging up past loves forces them to reevaluate their friendship.

3. Driving Sideways by Jess Riley – Having just gone through a kidney transplant, Leigh goes on a road trip to celebrate being alive and to clear some things up from her past.
I’d love to hear what your favorites are!